I have two questions. Do you know what would be a good book that talks about warehousing server/hardware to support technical and user requirements; also, one that lays out various architectural approaches? Where can I find some guidelines for when to use a star schema vs. normalized vs. snowflake? What requirements lead to one approach over another?


Chuck Kelley’s Answer: I do not know of a good book that talks about server hardware for the data warehouse. A lot of this depends on what the purpose of your data warehouse is and how much data is being stored. As for guidelines of dimensional modeling vs. normalized structures, I believe most people will agree that stars and snowflakes are best for the end-user access. Which one, I believe, depends on the end-user access product you are using. While most products will work in both snowflake and star schemas, you need to find which one the product works "best" in. For example, MicroStrategy works best in a snowflake environment. Yes, it works with stars, but the demos are mostly snowflakes, hence the product works best with snowflake (also the way that the product works leads one to the snowflake schema).

As for the enterprise data warehouse, there are two camps – one says it should be a relational (normalized) structure and others say that the enterprise data warehouse is the sum of the data marts. Both have strong points, but your organizations strategy will determine the best fit for you.

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